Encounters in the field, challenges and negotiations in midwifery research

Valerie Larkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: There is increased emphasis upon midwives undertaking research to enhance midwifery practice and develop midwifery theory. This research frequently occurs within the practice area by midwives who have a range of roles and responsibilities, which may impact upon research processes, particularly accessing and collecting research data. Design: This paper provides a reflexive case study on research exploring midwives’ assessment of maternal postnatal genital tract health. Reflective data were collected in a research diary. Findings: For the midwife researcher, accessing the research field involves negotiating with gatekeepers and potential research participants to gain acceptance of a new role, that of researcher. This includes identifying where along the insider-outsider researcher continuum the gatekeepers and potential research participants perceive the researcher and making the researcher position explicit. This may reduce potential ethical concerns regarding participation and sharing research findings externally. The interview and observation process must be flexible, with rapport developed quickly to maximise a responsive researcher style and effective data collection. However, exaggerated intimacy can place the participants in a vulnerable position, therefore, it is important to utilise a balanced approach and employ reciprocal reflexivity to ensure an appropriate ethical research position and maximise trustworthiness of the research data. Conclusion: A reflexive approach to data collection enables the novice researcher to learn from experience in the field.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-106
JournalEvidence Based Midwifery
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2013


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